Seven Deadly Sins III
Envy

Orithain and Rina

January 2003

Disclaimers: Merry, Pippin and everything and everyone else from the Lord of the Rings universe belongs to the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien, Alliance Atlantis, New Line Cinemas, Wingnut Films and The Saul Zantz Company. No profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.

~ Envy is the desire for othersí traits, status, abilities, or situation. ~

Sitting at a table in the Dragon, a bowl of flavorful pipeweed in his hand, a mug of excellent ale before him, and his friends around him, Merry should have been quite satisfied, but he wasnít. Try as he might to keep his attention on Frodoís story, it kept wandering to the couples dancing together or cuddling on the benches.

The more he watched, the more his discontent grew until he was fairly bursting with it. Those Hobbits could cuddle and coo and kiss in public (not that he was much for the cooing part, but the rest was nice), but if he so much as took Pippinís hand, they were looked at condescendingly. It was a well-known fact that young Hobbit lads sometimes turned to each other for affection before settling down with a lass to raise a family, but Merry didnít want that, ever. He wanted Pip, and he didnít care what anyone said about it.

Still watching the couples, he sucked on his pipe, unaware that he was frowning mightily.

Panting and perspiring, Pippin dropped back onto the bench beside Merry as the dance ended, swallowing down his ale in long quaffs. "You should join the dancing, Merry. The music and lasses are lively tonight... though a snack wouldnít be amiss now." He looked around, trying to get the serving girlís attention to order some food and another tankard.

"Enjoying it, are you?" Merry asked, his dark tone drawing glances from the others at the table.

"Iíll see about refills for all of us," Sam said quickly, gathering up their mugs. "Might put some folk in a better mood if they had a bit more ale."

"And a bit of something to eat!" Pippin put in.

"Iíll go with you, Sam, to help you carry it all. We wouldnít want to spill anything," Frodo offered, as eager as Sam to be away before Merry unleashed his very obvious displeasure on the oblivious Pippin.

Smiling happily now that he was assured ale and food would be forthcoming, Pippin turned to Merry, only to pause in surprise at the dark frown. "Why, Merry, whateverís the matter?"

"Enjoying the lasses and the music are you?" Merry asked sourly. "And which would you be enjoying more?"

"Which... Merry! You silly Hobbit, youíre jealous," Pippin realized, eyes widening. "You know youíre the one I... love, but we can hardly dance together, Merry."

"I know that!" Merry snapped before taking a deep breath, trying to get hold of his anger as it really wasnít Pipís fault he was in this mood. "I suppose Iím not supposed to mind it since you donít?"

Pippin gaped at him, taken aback. "But... but... Merry, why didnít you say something? I donít have to dance, you know."

"And look a bigger fool than I do already? Itís not that I mind you dancing, Pippin. Itís that I want to be the one dancing with ye!"

"Itís not that Iím against the idea, you understand, but, well, the aunts wouldnít like it at all!" Pippin shuddered, just imagining the elderly Hobbit ladiesí likely reactions to seeing the two of them dancing.

"Well then, I suppose Iíd better find a lass to dance with so I donít upset the aunts, shouldnít I?" Merry stood and plucked a mug out of Frodoís hand, draining the contents before handing it back to him. "Canít have the aunts not liking things, can we?"

"But... thatís not what I meant," Pippin finished disconsolately to Merryís retreating back. He took another of the mugs from Frodo and drank his down as well, watching Merry unhappily.

Not knowing what to say, Frodo simply laid a comforting hand on his shoulder for a moment before sitting back down with Sam.

"Iím sure Mr. Merry didnít mean it like it sounded," Sam offered, trying to console the obviously upset Pippin. "Go on and drink your ale, heíll be back right soon."

Merry tried, but his heart wasnít in his flirting with the lasses, and he found his gaze straying to the table where the other three sat, Pippin looking thunderstruck and Frodo and Sam both disapproving. Finally giving up as the whole exercise had left him feeling worse rather than better, he returned, bearing more ale for everyone.

"All right, Iím a daft fool; go ahead and tell me I am," he muttered, sliding onto the bench alongside Pip.

Frodo turned to Sam and started a conversation, very obviously giving the other two some privacy.

Pippin sighed, leaning his head on Merryís shoulder. "Iím sorry, Merry. I never thought... I didnít much like it either just now when you went to dance. I wish..." He trailed off with a sigh, knowing that they both wanted the same things and they werenít likely to get them.

Merry nodded and tilted his head to the side, resting his cheek against Pippinís curls for a moment before appearances necessitated them both sitting up again. "I wish we could too, Pip. Youíre the only one I want to be holding on the dance floor."

"So weíll have a private party, just the four of us," Frodo put in suddenly, "and weíll dance as we please."

"That would be nice," Pippin agreed. "And for tonight, well, Iíve danced enough. Iíll be perfectly happy to sit here with my ale," he paused to peer mournfully into his empty tankard, "and some good food."

Merry managed a smile at that. "Thatís my Pip; nothing spoils his appetite or his thirst for ale." He slid a hand under the table and clasped Pippinís fingers with his for a brief moment. "But weíll hold you to that party, Frodo. Tomorrow, say? Dinner, some of that Old Winyard Bilbo put up, then dancing?"

Sam sat straighter in his seat at that. "And what will you two be bringing to this party besides your appetites?"

"Our fine company, of course," Pippin retorted while Frodo took a hasty gulp of ale to cover his laughter.

Laughing aloud at Samís disgruntled snort, Merry squeezed Pippinís hand again before letting go. "Thatís all any party needs, isnít it?"

"I agree." Pippin ignored Sam utterly, turning to Frodo instead. "Is tomorrow night all right then?"

"Of course. Weíll have a fine meal and drinks and music and dancing. Itíll be fun. You and Merry can take your turns at being the musicians too."

"Seems weíre not the only ones who want to dance together then," Merry chuckled, his previous mood vanished like shadows when the sun comes out from behind a cloud. "A fine night it will be!"

 

 

"Well, come on, then," Pippin said with exasperation. "Ye seemed eager enough last night, so why are you taking so long? Weíre only going to Frodoís." Tapping one foot impatiently, he watched the other Hobbit finish dressing. "If you donít hurry, Sam will hide away all the food!"

"Priorities, dear cousin," Merry laughed, pulling his bracers up over his shoulders, then reaching for his waistcoat and putting it on as well. "And I wouldnít be taking quite so long to get dressed if you hadnít turned my knees to jelly earlier, now would I?"

He gave a wink a Pippinís grin and picked up his coat, slipping into it. "Have to look míbest for the party."

"And here I thought you were looking your best for me." Pippin eyed him and licked his lips. "I hope whatever Frodoís gotten in for the evening is half as appealing as you are."

"Iím hoping it isnít; that way youíll be keeping your interest on me tonight and not the food." Saying that, Merry pulled Pippin in for a kiss before nudging him toward the door. "Now come on or Sam will have our hides for making them wait dinner on us."

"And you call me greedy!" Pippin chuckled as they started out, arms comfortably around one anotherís waists and ignoring the scandalized expression of one passerby. Tonight they were going to enjoy being together, and everyone else could just keep their opinions to themselves.

"You are," Merry laughed. "What I meant was, the sooner we eat, the sooner we can dance." Humming a sprightly tune under his breath, he walked alongside Pippin toward Bag End, ready for an evening of fun, good food and better companionship.

When they arrived at Bag End, Pippin had barely raised his hand to knock on the door when Frodo himself flung it open, much to Samís dismay. Ignoring the other Hobbitís mutters about how it wasnít proper for Mr. Frodo to be opening his own door, the eldest Hobbit laughed and drew his friends inside, silencing Sam with a quick kiss.

"Tonight especially, my Sam, weíre all equals here. I have much better things for you to be doing than opening the door," he teased, blue eyes sparkling merrily.

"Oooohhh, sounds like we might learn something, Merry," Pippin chortled.

"And here we thought they were just going to be dancing," Merry snickered. "This evening is getting more and more interesting!"

Muttering about Brandybucks and Tooks and what fools the both of them were, Sam led the way to the sitting room, though he kept hold of Frodoís hand the whole while, and settled the dark-haired Hobbit on his lap so they could enjoy the before meal snacks theyíd laid out earlier.

"Oh, snacks!" Pippin exclaimed rapturously, abandoning Merry to investigate what Frodo and Sam had prepared.

"I thought I was going to be the main attraction here tonight," Merry sighed, watching Pippin pick and choose from the assortment of finger-foods set out on trays.

"Iím sure Mr. Pippin will come back to you once his belly is filled," Sam chuckled, relaxing a bit more as Frodo settled an arm around his shoulders.

"Keep it up and I wonít bring you anything," Pippin griped, sticking his tongue out at Merry. "After all, we need to keep our energy up for later, donít we?"

"You donít bring anything back and there wonít be a reason to keep our energy up later!" Merry squawked.

"Canít have that now," Pippin laughed, piling a plate high with both their favorites. "Iíll even feed you to make sure itís not a problem."

"Just donít go spilling anything on the upholstery," Sam chided, grinning at the other couple.

Merry looked shocked at the idea. "Do you really think Pip would waste even a drop of food that way?"

"Not a chance," Frodo agreed, while Pippin looked insulted.

"If you funny Hobbits would like to continue talking about me, I could leave," he grumbled, munching on a bit of cheese.

"Like Iíd let you when thereís dancing to be done later," Merry laughed, taking the plate from Pippinís hand and setting it on the table beside them before tumbling the younger Hobbit into his lap.

Grinning wickedly, Pippin curled up against him, arms going around Merryís neck as he kissed him soundly. "Thought youíd forgotten about that and Iíd have to dance with Sam and Frodo. And I donít think either of them would like that very much."

"No, Iíd much rather dance with Sam, if itís all the same to you," Frodo agreed laughingly. "Iíll let Merry try to keep up with you, young Pippin."

"Well, Iím the only one who can do it," Merry bragged to the othersí laughter.

"Or at least the only one I want to do it, Pippin purred, squirming in Merryís lap and shedding his shirt.

"Mmm, good idea," Frodo approved, following suit and shifting on Samís lap.

When Sam opened his mouth to gasp, Frodo poured some wine into it, making the younger Hobbit sputter and Merry and Pippin laugh.

"Now, Samwise, sure and youíve seen more of my good cousin unclothed than this before," Merry laughed, sliding a hand over Pippinís now bare chest and tickling his ribs.

Laughing, Frodo didnít comment, instead kissing Sam to distract him from his embarrassment.

Deciding that the older Hobbit had a good idea, Pippin moved closer and kissed Merry as well, tugging at his clothes so that they were both unclothed from the waist up.

Shifting to allow Pippin to do as he wished, Merry shook his head to get his hair out of his face. "If you two keep that up, dinner and dancing are going to have to wait!"

Having enjoyed Frodoís kiss immensely, Sam wasnít as loathe to do just that as he had been before. "Nothing that wonít keep," he murmured.

"The food isnít going anywhere," Pippin agreed, lowering his head to lick at Merryís chest, suckling on a pebbled nipple. "Or are you telling me that youíre the one who canít wait to eat?" he teased, a finger gliding beneath the waist of his cousinís pants.

"And some dancing can be best done sitting or even lying down," Frodo murmured, pressing kisses along Samís jaw.

"Would I ever say a thing like that?" Merry asked, aghast at Pippinís suggestion and sighing at the feel of the younger Hobbitís mouth on his chest. As if in a daze, he noticed Sam heft Frodo into his arms, carrying him off to the master bedroom, and he grinned down at Pippin. "So, shall we stretch out on the rug here or do you want a soft mattress to romp on?"

"Since I usually end up on the bottom, Iíd rather not have carpet burn," Pippin laughed, wrapping arms and legs around the older Hobbit. "I think you can provide me with a nice soft bed to play in. Besides, we wouldnít want to shock Sam if theyíre done before we are," he added, giggling wickedly.

"Oh, I donít know," Merry laughed, nudging Pippin off his lap so that he could stand up as well, "that Sam seems like a stayer to me, whereas youíre a sprinter, my boy."

"Are you impugning my abilities?" Pippin demanded, hands on hips as he glared pugnaciously at the grinning older Hobbit. "Iíll have you know that I have staying power!"

Merry pressed his lips together, trying and failing miserably to keep a straight face. "Oh, course you do, Pip. I was only teasing; now how about we go and see how long you can stay upright while youíre sitting astride me."

His expression instantly clearing, Pippin beamed. "A wonderful plan, Merry. Letís!" He grabbed the other Hobbitís hand and pulled him behind as he all but ran for the guestroom.

As they passed by the round door to the master bedroom, Merry couldnít resist one final bit of advice. "Donít do anything we wouldnít do!" he called before allowing Pippin to drag him into the next room.

Slamming the door behind them, he caught his cousin in his arms and kissed him hungrily, his hands already working at the buttons that held Pippinís trousers closed.

Pippin tore equally eagerly at Merryís clothes, mouth moving over each bared bit of flesh. "Leave Sam and Frodo to themselves and concentrate on me," he advised breathlessly, hips thrusting forward and grinding against Merryís.

"That I will!" Merry rasped, managing to get them both out of their clothes as they stumbled across the small room to tumble to the bed. Pulling Pippin with him, he rolled to his back and helped his young cousin to sit up, then grinned slyly. "Well, Pip, youíve got me where you wanted me. Are you going to go the course?"

Reaching across to the small jar of oil Sam and Frodo had so hospitably left out on the nightstand for them, Pippin poured some of the scented liquid into his palm, then coated the fingers of one hand. Never looking away from Merryís face, he reached behind himself, pressing a single finger inside to begin readying himself for his lover. "What do you think?" he purred.

Clearing his throat, which had gotten remarkably dry in the last second, Merry blinked, tearing his eyes away from Pippinís arm to meet his eyes. "I think Iíve never seen anything more erotic in my life."

Pippin smiled brightly. "I do love you," he said suddenly, lowering his head to kiss Merry before the other Hobbit could reply. Not wasting any more time, he rose up at the same time, then lowered himself over Merry, gasping into his mouth as he sank down onto him.

"My sweet Pip," Merry murmured, sliding his hands up Pippinís thighs to rest on his hips, urging him to move. "Iíve decided the others should be envious of me and not the other way round because I have you and they donít."

"Sweet talker," Pippin laughed, but the glow in his eyes showed that he appreciated Merryís sentiment and returned it. "Not that I care what anyone else thinks, only you, Merry." He braced his hands on Merryís shoulders, back arching as he began to move on him, making both of them moan.

Lifting one hand to tweak at Pippinís tight nipples, Merry circled his shaft with the other, stroking him in time with his movements, his back arching off the bed as he rose to meet each of his loverís downward motions. When a bit of a pinch made Pip shudder, he closed his eyes, letting the sensations wash over him.

Seeing the reaction, Pippin forced himself to still, smirking when Merryís eyes flew open. "You said something about being a stayer rather than a sprinter?" he reminded wickedly.

Merry blinked, then smirked, tightening his hand around Pippinís shaft and rubbing his thumb over the head, waiting for the reaction. "I never complained about it, did I?"

Gasping and biting his lip, Pippin dug his nails into Merryís upper arms as he clutched him. "C-couldnít quite tell from what you said," he whimpered, back arching sharply and his hips beginning to move again.

Smiling secretly, Merry let his body follow Pippinís lead, moving against and into the younger Hobbit with the ease of much practice. "I said I love you," he whispered, feeling his body tighten as his climax drew near.

Pippin gasped sharply, eyes falling closed to hide the intensity of his reaction to the words. "Love you too," he said again, moving more rapidly as the sensations intensified. "Always," he panted out an instant before he cried Merryís name at the moment of his climax.

Merry was already coming when he felt Pippin clench around him, and he gave a loud cry, clasping the other Hobbit to him and arching off the bed then pulling Pippin in for a demanding kiss that left them both even more out of breath.

Lying comfortably against Merry, the older Hobbitís arms holding him, Pippin smiled. "Think itís safe to go back out there yet, or do Sam and Frodo need more time? We should have brought a snack in with us," he mused, nuzzling against Merryís shoulder.

"I hope youíre not suggesting I go out there like this to get you something to eat," Merry laughed. "I love my cousin dearly, but Sam would kill me if he thought I was parading around in front of Frodo!"

"So would I!" Pippin looked irate at the very idea. "I was thinking more of both of us, dressed, going out to get something to eat and maybe doing some of that dancing we talked about."

Merry burst into laughter and pulled Pippin down for a kiss. "Thatís just what weíll do then, you silly Took. This took the edge off, but thereís more fun to be had this evening, and if Frodo and Sam arenít done yet, weíll bang on their door until they come out!"

"I think Sam may hit you over the head with a shovel!" Pippin laughed, reaching for the cloth also lying on the nightstand to clean them up. Done, he reached for his pants and looked around. "Whatever happened to our shirts? Oh, theyíre still in the parlor, arenít they?"

"I think so. Along with Frodoís at least." Merry scooted off the bed and began to get dressed. "I suppose we should check on the food thatís cooling so the meal isnít ruined."

"We canít have that!" Pippin waited until Merry was dressed again before heading out and toward the kitchen to avert any looming disasters. "Come along then, we can get it all ready. They canít be much longer," he called back over his shoulder.

"We can hope," Merry laughed, following Pippin down the hall, pausing only to bang on Frodoís door before darting away before it could be answered.

"Merry!" Pippin laughed, making sure he was far away from the door in case Sam should pop out. "Samís really going to make you sorry if you keep it up... and Frodo might not protect you this time!" He checked the meal, finding that the food was simply being kept warm and in no danger of being overcooked or ruined.

"Remind me not to invite you over again," Frodo said laughingly as he rejoined the others, a frowning Sam behind him, also shirtless now.

"Now, now, you wouldnít do that to your favorite cousin, would you?" Merry asked, making sure the table was between himself and the other two.

"Actually, Frodo, we should pity poor Mr. Pippin, if Mr. Merryís always that quick about it," Sam commented wryly before checking on the food to assure himself the other pair hadnít disturbed anything.

"Maybe Iím just more exciting, so Merryís more eager!" Pippin retorted, defending his lover, though also making sure he was out of armís reach.

Laughing, Frodo suggested that they start dinner before they had to dispose of a body.

Sam was about to sputter about Pippinís comment when Frodo kissed him again, making him forget what he was going to say.

Once they had the meal on the table and were all settled around it in comfortable chairs, Merry let out a sigh of contentment. "Now who needs more than this? Iím comfortably relaxed, have a full plate in front of me, and am surrounded by some of the best Hobbits in the Shire, though at times they make you think otherwise." He gave Sam an arch look.

His chair close by Merryís, Pippin leaned into him, head resting on the older Hobbitís shoulder for a moment before he straightened up to reach for another sausage. "Just remember to keep some of your attentions for one Hobbit," he ordered.

Grinning, Frodo responded, "Donít worry, Pip; the rest of us arenít interested in those attentions. I have all I can handle or want right here." He placed a hand over Samís on the table.

Merry grinned at the blush that crept over Samís face. "Iím pretty well sure we all do," he said, taking a drink of his wine and dragging Pippinís chair even closer to his.

Pippin twisted in his chair, an arm going around Merryís neck and one leg draping over his lap. "So youíre going to dance with me after we eat?" he demanded, offering the older Hobbit a bit of cheese.

"Our hosts promised us music, didnít they?" Merry asked, looking over at the other two Hobbits inquisitively. "Theyíd be remiss if they didnít provide it for us."

"Only if you return the favor," Sam answered before turning Frodoís face toward him to feed the older Hobbit a bite of duck.

"Itíll be our pleasure," Pippin agreed, knowing that Sam and Frodo had even less chance to enjoy each other than he and Merry did, thanks to Samís acute awareness of their relative stations.

Frodo gave him a smile of gratitude over Samís shoulder when the other Hobbit was distracted by choosing another bit of food.

"I take it you wonít be wanting a jig then?" Merry asked.

Sam fed Frodo another bit of duck. "I think you and Mr. Pippin can play first; that way we can give you the same kind of music."

Pippin burst into laughter. "He got you there, Merry. And I promise you, if itís a jig, Iíll make you sorry!"

"So will I," Frodo added, trying to glare at the young Brandybuck. "Something nice and slow so I can enjoy this opportunity, if you please."

"All right, all right, something slow it is, but mind you, Frodo Baggins, keep your hands to yourself while youíre dancing because I donít want you and Sam vanishing before I have my dance with Pip!"

Pippin looked dismayed, as heíd never thought of that. "Iíll be the one pounding on the door if you try!" he warned direly, cuddling closer to Merry as he nibbled on another slice of duck.

"Well, if youíve had enough to eat," Frodo said merrily, "we could start now. I wouldnít mind dancing with Sam."

"Mr. Pippin had best be the one to answer that," Sam chuckled, though he looked closely at Frodoís plate, weighing what had been placed on there with what the older Hobbit had consumed.

"Well, Pip? Think youíll have enough energy to make music, dance, and do whatever comes after?" Merry asked evilly as he saw Pippinís eyes dart to the food left on the table.

Pippin stuck his tongue out at them. "Comedians, the lot of you," he said with dignity, though he did snatch up a last sausage and eat it greedily. "Being as Iím the youngest here, you should be asking if you can keep up with me!" He wrinkled his nose at Merry as he drew a set of pipes from his pocket, brandishing them at the others. "Iím ready whenever you are."

"Then letís dance," Frodo cried merrily, springing to his feet and drawing Sam up into his arms.

"Might be safer in the parlor," Sam cautioned, drawing sighs from the others before they all moved in there.

Shaking his head and laughing quietly, Merry claimed a stool next to Pippin, settled a hand drum between his knees and picked up a slow beat, waiting for Pippin to join in on his pipes.

Pippin followed Merryís lead musically as easily as he did in all other things, and soon a sprightly tune drew Sam and Frodo around the parlor. Pippin watched them, pleased to see the other couple so happy and carefree and looking forward to being able to do the same with Merry.

"Looks like fun, eh, Pip?" Merry asked, laughing aloud as the other couple lost the rhythm of the dance as they tried to steal kisses in between steps.

Pippin nodded, grinning around the pipes. He was sure he and Merry would do better, managing to kiss and dance, but they would see soon enough. He moved a little close so their legs pressed together, eyes sparkling invitingly.

Once theyíd played through three songs and Frodo and Sam were dancing less and kissing more, Merry called time. "Enough, you two! Itís Pip and my turn, or Iíll be dumping cold water on you!"

Sam blinked and gave a bit of a shy grin that was for Frodoís eyes only. "Donít think it would do any good."

Pippin laughed. "Not so shy in the end, are you, Sam?" he chuckled, laying aside the pipes and standing up. "But since we started this because Merry and I wanted to dance, I think itís our turn now!"

"Itís only fair," Frodo agreed, taking up the pipes as he sat down. He didnít mind the breather, breathless from both the dancing and Sam.

"Aye," Sam murmured, taking up his fiddle and waiting for Frodo to strike up a tune before joining in.

"And Pipís the fairest one of all," Merry laughed, catching his cousin around the waist and sweeping him back over his arm, snatching a kiss before letting him upright again.

Pippin laughed and blushed, but the look in his eyes said that he was pleased. "You smooth-talking Brandybuck. My mama warned me about Hobbits like you!" he chuckled, moving easily in Merryís arms.

"Ha! She warned you that youíd become a Hobbit like me, and you know it," Merry laughed, allowing Pippin to straighten back up and grinning as Frodo and Sam started to play. "Iím pleased to see you did, too."

"It worked out rather well, since who else would have you?" Pippin teased, arms around Merry and enjoying the sensation of Merryís about him. He smiled at the other couple as Merry swung him around, the pleasure shining from his face.

"Do you want a list?" Merry asked innocently. "And the question isnít who would have me, but who I would have, and that list is very, very short."

"Iím pleased to hear it since Iíve decided I will have you," Pippin said quietly. "We may have to wait till Iím old enough, but thatís not going to change. I want the Hobbit that I love, and thatís you." He stared into Merryís eyes as they danced, for once serious.

Merry lost the thread of the dance, stumbling to a stop and staring down at Pippin, not even noticing that Frodo and Sam had stopped playing as well. "Well, then," he said, all levity gone from his voice. "The future Thain has spoken; who am I to argue with what he wants, especially as itís just what I want too."

"Too bad I know that wonít last," Pippin teased. "But itíll be more interesting this way. I just hope our parents donít all die of the shock when we tell them... the day after my thirty-third birthday." He sighed at the thought of having to wait so long, but at least he knew no one would be pushing him at any of the girls before then. Unlike Merry. He frowned.

Lifting a hand, Merry placed his fingers under Pippinís chin, tilting his head up so their eyes met. "Worried about how old Iíll be by that time?" he asked, keeping his tone gentle.

"Worried about how many girls your familyóand quite likely mineówill have pushed at you by then," Pippin replied, arms tightening around Merry. "I donít want to lose you, Meriadoc Brandybuck."

"Silly Took," Merry said lovingly, punctuating the words with a kiss, "when have you ever known me to give up something I want? I can string the parents along and will as long as necessary; it doesnít bother me one bit."

Pippin stared at him searchingly, finally smiling. "Good. I donít think Iíd be very friendly to anyone who became your wife." He heard the quiet breathing of the other two Hobbits and flushed slightly as he realized that heíd done this in front of someone else. But they were his best friends.

"I thought we were supposed to be dancing," he said finally, still staring into Merryís eyes.

"I donít know about you, Pip, but I think Iíd rather explore what you said about you having me a bit more," Merry said, leaning in so as to whisper the words into Pippinís ear.

Pippin smiled wickedly. "Grab a tray for snacks later, and letís see if we can put that guest room to even better use," he suggested.

"A word of warning to both of you," Sam said seriously. "Either of you bang on Mr. Frodoís door and youíll find yourselves out in the lane, no mistake about it."

Frodo hid a laugh behind a sip of ale. "Wouldnít want to interrupt anything, after all," he said calmly.

"No... but Iím fairly sure Merry will make sure Iím too tired to get of bed, never mind walk down the hall," Pippin chuckled.

Merry grinned brightly as he gathered up a plate of the leftovers. "Iíll do my best in that regard."

END

  since 02-03-07

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